Last spring, my wife Laurie and I bid on an auction item at the Rotary Club of Salem dinner and auction. The package included and a private tour of the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health. We decided to take our team, and some friends, to enjoy this fascinating tour.
From an overview of its origins in 1862, to a glimpse at the various treatments used over the years (some of them, quite gruesome), to an exhibit on the filming of the 1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, you could spend several hours meandering through the museum. We did. Outside the museum, the massive building – which was revamped in 2013 – is still a fully functional psychiatric hospital. Over 600 residents utilize the services of Oregon State Hospital today.
In addition to their permanent exhibits, they currently have a feature on “War Wounds.” This exhibit discusses the impact war has had on the hospital and patients impacted by PTSD. Coming soon, an exhibit that features the architecture of the facility and its expansion over the years. You can stay up to date on the permanent and rotating exhibits by visiting their website.
Visitors are welcome to tour the museum Tuesday – Saturday, 12-4pm. Admissions is $5/person, $4/seniors & students, children under the age of 10 are free. We highly encourage you to visit this fascinating piece of Salem’s past, and present.